Mama Heating Pad in the Brooder (Picture Heavy) - UPDATE

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Blooie, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I brood my chicks outside from day one. Well, not in the coop, but in an unheated barn. I've always used a heat lamp in the past, just went with the MHP this last week and love it. I've had broody hens hatch chicks in the early spring when it's cold and wet and the chicks have done fine. As long as they have a heat source, they can tolerate ambient temps quite low, even down to freezing.
     
  3. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Mine aren't in the coop either, Donrae - not enough room for the brooder box in there. So they are set up in the run. The day the video above was taken, it was 21 degrees in there. Don't they look like they are suffering? [​IMG]
     
  4. RLynch

    RLynch New Egg

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    Well our 4 chicks came in the mail yesterday and they did fine in our adaptation of the MHP last night. Granted they are not outside since the coop is not complete or secure but they are in the garage. We used a piece of metalized bubble wrap called reflec-tex as a heat reflector and frame/roof for the heating pad. It is cut to the same size as the pad and duct taped to it. We then took an old t-shirt and put the pad and reflec-tex in it. We had some bricks that were of the proper dimensions (2-3 inches) and used them as the supports on each side. We covered the bricks with another ratty t-shirt then placed the heating pad taped to the reflec-tex on top as the roof of the cave. I think we can add bricks to adjust for the chicks height as they grow, plus the bricks seem to hold and regulate the heat. The heating pad with the reflective material above it holds a temperature of 85F on Low, 90F on Med and 95F on High. I tested the temps for 3 hrs on each setting and they were stable within + or - 2 degrees. So 83-87F, 88-92F and 93-97F respectively. The cave is not tapered towards the back but it is closed off by the brooder box and bedding material. We like that it works without the use of sharp wire, and the reflective bubble wrap doesn't seem to buckle from the weight of the heating pad pulling down on it since the opening is no more than 8 inches wide for it to span.
    Thank you all for the ideas on this thread! This is definitely the way to brood chicks with almost zero chance of fire hazard. We are new to chickens so I have nothing to compare this to, but the birds seem happy, healthy and content which is all that matters right?
     
  5. SunshineAnShade

    SunshineAnShade Out Of The Brooder

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    My girls are doing great! I'm suprised at how little they need the heating pad when they aren't even 3 weeks old yet. 3 have gotten a good amount of tail and wing feathers already. Not sure how soon that normally happens.
    Ive been monitoring them at night time to see how they are responding to the heat pad and ive been lowering the temps. I went from a 5 to a 3 in a matter of days. They have been avoiding the brooder at night and huddling up near the water container or more recently on the side of the cave near the entrance on the outside. Even though they are quiet,The worrier that i am, i tuck them under the brooder and they settle down and are quiet again. Its been getting down into the low 60s at night here including last night.


    This might sound silly but i worry that they wouldn't make their way under in the dark if they get too cold. There is no light outside at all and they seem to stay put once it gets dark. One night at dusk, i had to get them all in the coop because they waited to long and it was too dark inside for them from what i could tell.

    Im going to try and restrain myself and not do anything with them tonight. It makes me nervous!
    Ill post pics soon so you can see how big they are getting. For some reason i can't seem to post stills i took from my videos and cant figure out how to post video either! Lol
     
  6. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes they will outgrow that box WAY faster than you would think. But nothing wrong with starting them in there since you can check their cuteness more often.

    Great plan with the kennel. They will have more space. Give them something to hop up onto. They won't roost early but they sure seem to like getting a "bird's eye view" [​IMG] Get working on that coop though, they grow amazingly quickly and will be up on roosts at night by about 4 weeks. If they are raised in the area with the roosts, they will likely explore them before they decide they want to sleep on them. Kinda different than when you toss them from the brooder into the coop at 3-4 weeks and "WHOA too much space! What do we do now?" Which is what I did in July 3 years ago with my "in the house bathtub and heat lamp" brooder. By 3 weeks they wouldn't stay in the bathtub. They could get out but not back in. This was, as you can imagine, problematic especially since we have 3 indoor cats which were NOT allowed in the bathroom, but who wants to open the door and potentially smack a chick or have one escape?? And then there was the necessity of newspaper on the floor and general loss of 1 of the 2 toilets in the house. OUT YOU GO! (because I did finish the "stall to coop" conversion in the barn by then).
     
  7. SunshineAnShade

    SunshineAnShade Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, I did it! I left them to there own devices and low and behold they were just fine this morning ! [​IMG]
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  8. RubyNala97

    RubyNala97 Overrun With Chickens

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    I am reading it! It's like a whole new world of possibilities has opened up to me. My SO doesn't want more chicks in the house because of the dust and smell. (He has asthma). So that means I can't hatch. If I can brood outside, I can hatch as much as I want!!! I'm so excited. I'll keep reading and learning from you guys. My last hatch of shipped eggs (that got lost in the post and then went through a power outage) all died! I have 2 quail eggs due to hatch Tuesday. Then I'll be setting more eggs this week. The baby quail will like the MHP, right?
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I don't see any reason why not, Ruby. I know that a recent poster had problems with guineas using it, and I don't know why that should be, but I still would try it. For quail I'd drop the back of the MHP cave down a little lower so the heat was right at their backs, but other than that it should work just fine.
     
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    @SunshineAnShade Good for you!! There are two main ideas behind MHP - one is to have things as natural as can be for the chicks, and the other is to take some of the stress off the owners! Isn't it liberating to have them safe and warm with so little effort, and to be able to enjoy them being chicks instead of treating them like little Divas? They sure are cute, too!
     

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